At Gusford, we believe that a life with proficient English skills opens doors and opportunities for the future. We strive for this for all of our pupils.
We aim to equip pupils with the strategies and knowledge of the rules of the English language as well as the skills to be able to be an effective writer for any purpose which they require or desire. We foster a love for creativity, developing articulate and imaginative communicators. We equip pupils with the strategies and knowledge of the grammatical rules of the English language, using the skills to identify and explain the reasoning of the terms and use of grammar as well as the skills, strategies and knowledge of spelling rules, patterns and letter strings to enable them to spell accurately and confidently. With this, we aspire for pupils to leave our primary school with the ability to understand the English language as well as using it to read, speak and write to a high standard and be able to use this across the curriculum and into their future life.
Our approach to English and writing at Gusford, is reading, writing and grammar learning, teaching the National Curriculum, based around a text. Our English units provide opportunities for pupils to talk, read and analyse texts to enable them to gain a greater understanding of a range of text types. Reading a whole book each half term enables the pupils to develop their repertoire. The intriguing and inspirational texts offer a range of authors, diversity, cultures and story genres to inspire the pupils to take on new learning to progress their own writing. We encourage a culture where pupils take pride and aspire to be the best they can be.
Within the Early Years, story mapping is used to motivate and inspire our younger pupils to listen to and tell stories, developing a love for language and developing their vocabulary. Whole class literacy sessions introduce the writing which is developed within the continuous provision. This continues into KS1.
Throughout the school, we entwine the spelling and grammar learning to root the understanding with purpose. The use of the No Nonsense Schemes for both grammar and spelling enables a thorough coverage and progression. We develop the knowledge of the grammatical rules of the English language as well as the skills to identify and explain the reasoning of the terms and use of grammar. Teachers use the No Nonsense programmes for explicit coverage but are encouraged to order objectives to match the needs of the pupils and the English units. Explicit spelling or grammar sessions are taught daily, as well as handwriting, but English lessons also have these skills entwined within the teaching and writing to develop the abilities and the confidence of the writers.
Each half term, pupils focus on one text, developing both a fiction and non-fiction text type. Poetry is a dedicated week across the whole school each term. As this is carefully mapped out over the whole school, coverage and development of skills, genres and writing styles are clear and progressive. Within each unit, pupils begin by reading and analysing the text and text type. This then progresses to learning the key skills of the text type, imitating the style. The final part of the unit is the independent application where pupils create an imaginative, purposeful version of the text type. Using the stimulating texts combined with the carefully planned sequence of learning, pupils are able and motivated to write purposeful pieces of writing with an intended audience and use of creativity and style.
The impact of this thorough, adapted planning, following our detailed progression document and the schemes, is a curriculum which has a clear coverage, varied lessons and progressive learning. Our approach results in high quality writing which is based around the reading that pupils have studied as well as the grammatical learning interwoven within the unit. A clear sequence of learning develops the understanding and knowledge, building on previous learning. The inspiring texts, initial ‘hook’ lessons to begin each unit, clear modelling from teachers, rich learning wall environments and the purposeful writing for an audience, stimulate a love of learning which is full of intrigue, excitement and determination to succeed.
English and writing are linked within many subjects, including Science, History and Geography as well as the Arts, Maths, ICT and RE. Although many subjects use English and writing as a vehicle to their own learning and products, many developments in English can be fostered, including explanatory writing in Science and diary writing from a historical figure’s point of view. These cross-curricular links benefit both subjects and cultivate a love of learning, reading, writing and enriching knowledge and understanding across the curriculum.